Information on Long-term Conditions

Long-term Conditions

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There are many different heart conditions and problems which are collectively called heart disease. These affect the heart’s ability to work efficiently. The most common problems are:

Coronary Heart Disease

  • When the heart’s blood vessels - the coronary arteries - become narrowed or blocked and can’t supply enough blood to the heart.
  • It can lead to angina and/or a heart attack.


  • A pain or discomfort in your chest, arm, neck, stomach or jaw that happens when the blood supply to your heart becomes restricted because of your arteries becoming narrowed. Angina is a symptom of coronary heart disease, not an illness in itself.
  • Angina is your heart’s way of telling you it’s not getting enough oxygen when you’re doing something strenuous or you’re feeling under stress. Many people learn to recognise how much activity will bring on an angina attack - this is called stable angina.
  • Unstable angina can be undiagnosed chest pain or a sudden worsening of existing angina. It happens when the blood supply to the heart is severely restricted and angina attacks occur more frequently, with less and less activity.

Heart Attack

  • A heart attack - also known as myocardial infarction or MI - happens when the blood supply to part of your heart muscle becomes completely blocked. This is most commonly caused by a piece of fatty material breaking off and a blood clot forms within a coronary artery.
  • This can cause damage to the part of your heart muscle which that particular coronary artery was supplying.
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